Boy Who Didn't Come Back From Heaven Sues Own Publisher

Alex Malarkey says he never saw a dime from book, and that late father made up near-death story
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2018 7:33 AM CDT
Boy Who Didn't Come Back From Heaven Sues Own Publisher
In this Jan. 9, 2009, file photo, Beth Malarkey, left, covers up her son, Alex, right, with a blanket after surgery as Alex's father, Kevin, watches at University Hospital's Case Western Reserve Medical Center in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

Alex Malarkey calls it "one of the most deceptive books ever," even though it bears his byline and that of his late father. The 20-year-old Ohio man, left paraplegic after a 2004 car crash in which his father, Kevin Malarkey, was driving, co-penned with his dad The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven after he emerged from his coma two months after the accident. In the 2010 book, he claimed a near-death experience in which he visited heaven and met Jesus, angels, and the devil—all of which he retracted in a 2015 blog post, saying he'd done it for "attention." Now, per the Washington Post and Courthouse News, Malarkey is suing the Christian publisher that put out the New York Times best-seller, saying the story was fabricated by his father, he's long tried to have his name disassociated with it, and he hasn't seen a dime of the money Tyndale House made off the book, since taken out of print.

Malarkey—who says he lives off his Social Security checks and help from his mom, Beth Malarkey, and that they're both near homelessness—claims Tyndale never cleared the book's contents with him, as his father was the one who signed the contract. Tyndale tells the Post it tried multiple times to set up meetings with the Malarkeys and that Beth wouldn't agree to one. The publisher also won't give Malarkey a record of the money Tyndale made off the book until Malarkey agrees the contract is "in effect and binding"—something he won't do. His complaint goes after Tyndale House for defamation, exploitation of his disability, and appropriation of his likeness. "Despite the fact that Tyndale House has made millions of dollars off Alex's identity and an alleged autobiographical story of his life, Tyndale House paid Alex, a paralyzed young man, nothing," the suit states. (Behind "heavenly lights": CO2?)

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